Solitude - Poem by Francis Kokutse
There is a place across
the ocean where Kpende
our chief from Aneho was
once a guest against his wish.
It is a place where no one cares
about his neighbour
because the cold that sweeps
across this land has killed
that part of the brain that
makes neighbours look up to
each other as well as make friends.
This place does imprison you
becuse it is a place that gets you locked up
in your own world because
your neighbours do not care about you
and you cannot ask for salt from
your neighbout just in case
yours has run out whilst you are cooking.
These people have no compounds
where their children run wild
across the land because everyone
repects his privacy and this has
kept me in my room all day.
I am not a prisoner but
l have locked up myself
in my house with only my television
and telephone to be my companion.
The stars do not show up in this land
that l have found myself after drifting
away from my father's land many years ago
and l have just become a member of
of the thronging crowd that travel daily
across this land of strange people.
I, the prince that moves
with an entourage across
the land of my fathers have
become a man of no value
and have no place among men in this land
who fear to show their manliness.
Each time l go to bed
l peep through the window
but see no darkness
that darkness that engulfs
my father's land and give the spirits
the right to move freely across the land;
they only have lights that they have made
and it increases the emptiness of the land
with an air that drives you deep into
your own world to remain a prisoner
to your soul.
This land has turned my nights
to days and no creeping beings
chirp their melodies to give
us music in the night as
everything turns to silence.
My father's land where
the children remain under the
baobab trees by night to listen
to stories that the old people
have kept in their minds to
retell to the young;
where the stars guide the fishermen
who go to look for their catches
in the night, l long to be back.
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